Sarcocystis calchasi is a recently described apicomplexan parasite that causes encephalitis in avian hosts. We diagnosed one White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) and two Eurasian Collared Doves (Streptopelia decaocto) in Texas, US, with a history of neurologic signs with protozoal encephalitis. On histologic examination, all three doves had moderate to severe meningoencephalitis characterized by large numbers of plasma cells, lymphocytes, and macrophages with gliosis and astrocytosis. Brain sections from two doves also contained numerous Mott cells. Protozoal schizonts with rosettes or clusters of individual merozoites consistent with Sarcocystis spp. were seen within areas of inflammation. Sarcocysts were also identified in the skeletal muscle of one dove. The PCR and sequencing of brain and skeletal muscle from two doves revealed 99% identity with S. calchasi. The presence of S. calchasi in fatal cases of encephalitis in doves in Texas suggests that the geographic and host ranges of S. calchasi are broader than previously reported.
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Vol. 52 • No. 2